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Salomons Speedcross 6, functional, stylish, tough and comfortable.

Living on the mountain for 30 years and being an avid hiker and runner it was only natural that I took to running on trails. As a bigger 90kg unit, living on rocky, rooty trails, I needed a shoe that offered real traction on both moss-covered and jagged rocks, as well as support and cushioning. Back in the early years of trail running most shoe brands with deeper lugs and torsional stability were low-grade entry level shoes that were better suited to hiking or field hockey. A podiatrist's dream for delivering injured runners in spades.

When snow-sport-famous Salomon launched their trail shoes, they were both cool and innovative. It was only a dozen years back when 19-year-old Kilian Jornet, who broke the UTMB record, wanted a faster shoe for smoother, flatter and longer trails. I first sported the Speedcross XT Wings as one of the earliest converts to the fast-growing off-road trail running category. They were strong, stable and funky looking. However, like the XT 6, they were a little heavy and hard on the feet for those of us not living in the Alps. They would never slip or collapse over obstacles, but they would probably begin to hurt over longer distances.

There is no question that every model of sports equipment has unavoidable compromises in weight, cushioning, comfort, strength or price. You simply cannot have a shoe that can work as well on tar as it does on steep, rugged trails. You design and choose your tools for the purpose at hand. What I respect about the consistent Salomon brand, born and raised in the fairytale town of Annecy in France, is that rather than flip-flop to a soft compliant shoe that may have garnered bigger numbers, Salomon have stayed true to their mission – to be the shoe of choice for serious trail users.

We have had the pleasure of testing a pair of the new Speedcross 6. In a nutshell they're as robust as ever, even more water resistant, and deliver the brand’s famously excellent traction. But, this iteration is both lighter and more comfortable, with a softer midsole and cushioned heel counter. This was a critical step forward with more comfortable shoes upping their stability and traction game. They look great and are certainly the most reliable shoe in my quiver for rocky, rooty trails like the ones we wear-tested them on.

The Salomon Speedcross 6 needs no introduction, but it's been 3 years since the Speedcross 5 and the 2022 Salomon rebrand is well timed for this update. The Speedcross 6 is lighter with an even gripper ground connection and mud evacuation. The upper is functional, stylish, tough and comfortable.

Many characteristics remain the same as the previous generations. The iconic quickdraw lacing system, sensifit construction, a contagrip outsole and energycell midsole compound are what makes these the standard of hard core trail running shoes. An improved 5mm lug sole pattern sheds mud faster to grip better on wet days making them ideal for mixed terrain, like we get at Otter trail, Cederberg Traverse, Cape Town Trail Marathon and the likes with sharp rocks and roots mixed in with soft and muddy ground.

Neutral support with the same 10mm drop but the increased heel cushioning in fact still sees a lower average height than Speedcross 5 at 32mm stack at the heel to 22mm at the forefoot. The shoe has shed over 20 grams moving to a new weight category a shade under 300 grams which means it can fight other shoes in the race category given the right trails.

Who do these shoes best suit? More experienced trail runners who like to run on technical trails and hikers looking for control and robustness with the feel of a running shoe rather than hiking boot. Not for any mixed surface runs including paved or tarmac sections.

You can find them online from the official Salomon website for R2599.00



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